Son of Canadian Couple Held in China Pleads Ottawa for Action

The son of a Canadian couple suspected of allegedly spying in China, Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt, urged Ottawa to help prevent charges being laid against his parents on Wednesday. According to an official letter faxed by China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday, the couple “is suspected of gathering and stealing intelligence materials about, among other things, China’s military objectives and important national defence research projects,” adding that such activates “harm China’s security.”

The Christian couple owned and operated a coffee shop in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, on the border with North Korea. In his remarks from Vancouver, the couple’s son, Simeon Garratt, mentioned that “I really hope the Canadian government puts some resources into it and really tries to resolve it quickly.” He explained that “because I think the longer it goes on it’s exponentially worse for my parents.” The café operated by the couple, namely Peter’s Coffee House, is located quite near to the Yalu River and the Friendship Bridge linking China and North Korea. The “T” in the café’s name depicts the shape of a crucifix, along with a backdrop resembling a stained-glass window.

The couple has had no contact with the family since late Monday. Simeon alleged that his parents were active in helping send humanitarian aid to impoverished North Korea, as he referred to them as “openly Christian.” A previous audio on the website of the Terra Nova church in Surrey, British Columbia, portrayed Kevin Garratt informing the congregation that he supports North Korean Christians who return to their country “to preach the gospel.”

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